Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Gizmo Project Sets its Sights on Skype with Open SIP-based Network

The Gizmo Project, a free VoIP service developed by Michael Robertson and his team at SIPphone, released the first public beta of its consumer VoIP software. Robertson's previous start-ups have included, Linspire, SIPphone and most recently

Unlike Skype, Gizmo is based on SIP and follows a standards-based approach to its network and directory. New users choose their username and then a SIP number is automatically assigned to the account. Gizmo can send/receive calls to over 100 other SIP networks, including some university networks and Asterisk-based networks. Regular phones could be attached to the service using an unlocked SIP analog-telephone-adapter.

Gizmo is offering its users unlimited free member-to-member calling worldwide, the ability to add U.S. or U.K. phone numbers to their account, and the ability to call the regular phone system for rates starting at 1.8 cents/min for U.S. phones, 10% less than Skype's U.S. rate. Special Gizmo features include:

  • Free Voicemail

  • Call Recording, which could be used in podcasting

  • Call Mapping that shows the two points of the call on a world map

  • Call Hold with user selectable music

  • Call Blocking with user selectable message from polite, to firm, to "just rude"

  • Interactive Voice Applications, provided by Tellme (, allow users to get real-time news, stock quotes, and weather...and games such as blackjack

  • Call Subject tells the person you are calling the purpose of your call before they answer, just like email

  • Realtime Call Quality Indicator works like the bars on your mobile phone, showing network issues that can affect call quality

  • Realtime IM presence indicator

  • Firewall traversal capability

  • No spyware and no adware

Gizmo, which is describing itself as a "Skype-killer", said it because it does not operate on a pure P2P model, its members' computer resources and bandwidth are never tapped to route calls, as they are with Skype. Gizmo is supporting a range of audio compression technologies including Global IP Sound, which is also used by Skype.

Gizmo Project is available for Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. A Linux version is in alpha release now, and will be released for public beta in August.

VoIP Services Need to Take a SIP

Jack Chang

Peer-to-Peer VoIP services have
proved to be very popular. Skype claims to have more than 10 million
users. However, Skype and other peer-to-peer providers use
proprietary technology to deliver their services. This results in
potential quality of service, security and reliability issues, as
there is no way to manage pure peer-to-peer routing. Additionally,
the ability to improve quality and provide new services through
collaboration is tough to come by in the pure peer-to-peer
environment. The limitations of peer-to-peer can be overcome through
the introduction of Session Initiation Protocol (SIP). Here
are some advantages and disadvantages to consider.

See also